As a running coach now, the idea of couch to half marathon initially sounds like a bad idea. But the truth is that my very first race ever in 2002 was a half marathon!
I was active prior to that, but someone who faked knee pain to get out of running. So yup, I basically was indeed going from 0 to 13.1.
How long does it take for Couch to Half Marathon?
In my plan you need at least 20 weeks. If you are already active, but not running much there is certainly a chance you can slash that time.
But my goal is to get you to the start line injury free and able to keep running or working out after the race because you aren’t completely wrecked.
I’ve seen folks say that if you can do a 5K right now, then 8 weeks later you should be ready for a half marathon. But it’s not ideal and it’s not what I’m interested in promoting. So if you want a how to run a half with no training or in just a few weeks plan…probably gonna need to look elsewhere.
Who is the Couch to Half Marathon plan for?
I’ve designed this so that it can be used by the brand new runner, the person calling themselves out of shape and scaled up for someone who has some fitness but isn’t really running.
Couch to Half Marathon Training Plan
This plan is designed to run 20 weeks, starting out utilizing the run-walk method and progressing to longer runs. Strength training and cross training days are listed, not as a mere recommendation but as a true part of the plan.
Running without the other two pieces makes is harder to make progress and often ensures injuries.
Weeks 1 -5: This is the base building phase, it’s a lot of easy running to
Weeks 6-10: Now we’re starting to increase mileage and add in some basic speed components. Hills are a proven way to build speed, so I know they don’t sound fun…do them anyways.
Weeks 11-15: This is the piece of training that becomes more race specific and is not the time to start slacking on your miles, though I know the months are suddenly seeming very long.
Weeks 16-20: We’re hitting the peak week of training, which means your highest mileage and then moving in to taper prior to race day to ensure that your muscles are fully recovered and primed to perform.
What should you do for strength training?
In this plan, there are only 2 days laid out for strength training, so you’ll want to make them full body days.
These workouts can be 20-30 minutes and don’t need to include cardio, you’re getting plenty of that.
During these sessions you’ll be helping to prevent knee pain, improve endurance and add muscle that often helps us get those running for weight loss goals.
- Upper Body Strength Training
- Full Body Workout
- Glute strength for runners
- 10 Best Strength Moves for Runners
- Core Workout for Runners
- Stability Ball Workout
What about rest days?
While there is only 1 planned rest day, if you’re tired then take another!
Anticipate that there will be some muscle fatigue and soreness as you start doing something new. BUT PAIN is different than simply feeling sore and you know the difference, so don’t keep pushing through actual pain.
Rest days can be complete rest or active recovery days.
- Active recovery days help you stick to a schedule.
- Same time you would have run, you do 10 minutes of hip mobility or foam rolling.
- A thing in motion stays in motion.
- It alleviates your fears about not doing anything.
- REST is when the body grows from the work you do, it is part of training.
You can’t neglect sleep.
It’s free. It’s proven by many studies to be your BEST TOOL for improving performance.
Rest is when your body adapts to the hard work, so enjoy those off days.
What else do you need to know?!
I mean so much.
And I have TON more articles filled with tips, but the biggest thing is simply showing up. Stay excited about your goal and keep showing up for yourself day, after day.
Consistency is the thing that will get you to the finish line.
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